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Londonderry Arms Hotel - Historic Hotel on the Causeway Coastal Route
14 August 2017
The Londonderry Arms Hotel was built in 1848 as a coaching inn by Frances Anne Tempest, Marchioness of Londonderry.
Frances Anne was the grand-daughter of Randall William, sixth Earl and second Marquis of Antrim. He was the great great grandson of Sir Randall MacDonnell, the first of that branch of the MacDonnells to bear the title Earl of Antrim.
Frances Anne inherited from her mother, Anne Katherine, Countess of Antrim in her own right, land between Glenarm and Cushendall, including Carnlough.
At the age of 19 she married Charles William, Lord Stewart, the British Ambassador to Austria, later the third Marquis of Londonderry and sometime affectionately known as fighting Charlie. As Ambassador he assisted his half-brother Castlereagh, and afterwards the Duke of Wellington in the negotiations of the celebrated Congress of Vienna. Lady Londonderry was greatly admired at the Russian Court and the Russian Emperor, Alexander I, gave her some of the Londonderry family jewels - the Down diamonds and the parture and cross.
Conscious of their responsibilities as landlords, the Marquis and Marchioness of Londonderry were determined to provide assistance for the people of the area.
Ireland at that time was suffering one of the greatest tragedies in its history - The Great Famine, also known as the potato famine.
They initiated the erection of a town hall, lime kilns and the building of a protected harbour. Later a mineral railway line was built to connect the south pier with the limestone quarry in the hills rising behind the village.
The Marquis died in 1854 and on the death of Lady Londonderry in 1865 the Carnlough estate passed to her son Henry the fifth Earl. After his death in 1884, the estate passed to her grandson Herbert Vane Tempest who was tragically killed in a train accident in Wales in 1921. After his death the estate, including the hotel, passed to his second cousin, Sir Winston Churchill.
In 1934 Winston Churchill sold the hotel to the Lyons family. During the Second World War part of the hotel was commissioned by the Army to allow for the recuperation of wounded soldiers; after the war in 1946 Mr Lyons sold the hotel in several lots which considerably reduced its size.
For nearly 70 years the hotel has been owned by the O'Neill family who are the longest established hotelier families in Ireland.
The hotel boasts original Georgian architecture and this can be viewed throughout the hotel. The architecture is complimented by antique furniture. The walls are decorated with local artwork and evidence of local history through newspaper clippings and photographs.
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